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Old 01-12-11, 04:27 PM   #1
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Default How to compost non-plant food scraps (Black Soldier Fly bin)

Originally Posted by strider3700 View Post
Realistically you can't "safely" compost pizza, dairy, fats, meats, bread... at home your piles are very unlikely to be large enough to get hot enough and you'd have to be a guru at making compost constantly working on the pile to keep it right. I don't attempt to compost any of that at home even though I extensively compost vegetable matter.
It turns out you can do it easily without traditional composting methods. This summer I started a Black Soldier Fly larvae bin where I composted all kitchen scraps including fat, meat, and bones. It isn't exactly for the feint of heart, but as long as it has good drainage there is little smell. The larvae eat up all organic matter before the bacteria have a chance to make a putrid mess of it. But, You better believe my wife let me open up the bucket to throw in kitchen scraps .

Unlike houseflies, BSF are not a pest to humans and do not spread disease. They only eat in their pupa/larva forms; the adult flies are focused solely on reproduction and don't care about your potato salad.

I originally set this up as chicken feed, that is before my chickens were eaten by a hungry and determined raccoon. But, it ended up being a great way to get rid of all of those "un-compostable" bits of organic matter.

I used a bucket-in-bucket method. Drill drainage holes in one bucket and line the bottom with shredded newspaper, peat moss, or coir. Then, place that bucket inside the other. I just put in organic matter and the BSF showed up on their own. I covered most of the bucket with a lid leaving room for new flies to enter. You can also make a more complex setup that "auto harvests" the flies to feed to fish or poultry, but since mine was just PoC I kept it simple.

Last edited by benpope; 01-12-11 at 04:38 PM..
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Old 01-13-11, 09:36 AM   #2
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That's a pretty cool way of composting. I'm gonna keep that in mind for the future although I'm not sure that would work in a cold weather area.

We had to stop composting this winter because our composter got filled up. Basically it froze once winter started, same as any other year, but this time we had already had it pretty full, so we started throwing out all of our compostable material for the winter. Well Oh...MY...GOD...we couldn't believe how much we actually composted until we started doing that. Instead of throwing out one small garbage bag from the kitchen every week, we now throw out 1 and a half to 2 now. So this summer I'm going to make sure I take out quite a bit of compost and put it into my garden. I didn't put in enough last year so now we're losing out. Anyway...just goes to show you that composting DOES make a big difference.
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Old 01-13-11, 01:32 PM   #3
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You are right about the temperature; I had to give up the BSF for the winter. They generate a lot of heat moving around, but once it got down to about 40F, food piled up in the bucket. I've gone back to regular composting for the winter, but come spring I may run it all through the "trout-o-matic" and let the BSF larvae do their thing. Maybe I'll get some hens again too and see how they like the larvae. That will really help close the waste loop.

To get around temperature issues, I could set up the BSF bin within a solar chicken coop. This guy is working on closed-loop BSF breeding which could keep them going over the winter in a warmed space. Anyway, it's interesting stuff. Even if you compost you'll be amazed how slowly your garbage can fills up after you set up a BSF bin.
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Old 11-25-11, 10:53 AM   #4
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Hi. Nice video on the trout being ate by the BSF larvae. How long did it take for each fish to be consumed?

I am actually working on a project and plan to use BSF to consume the animal matter that Red Wigglers would never touch. My concern is attracting other undesirables including rats.


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